‘No recovery and consumption of drug’: Aryan Khan’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi tells Bombay HC

Aryan Khan, the prime accused in the cruise drugs case, told the Bombay high court on Tuesday that the NCB does not have any evidence to show that any drugs were recovered from his possession, or that he had consumed any. He further told the HC that the WhatsApp chats relied upon by the NCB had nothing to do with the present case and neither did these establish any case of consumption against him.

A bench of Justice Nitin Sambre was hearing a bail application filed by Aryan through his advocate, Satish Maneshinde. Aryan was also being represented by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Karanjawala & Co.

Arguing for Aryan, Rohatgi pointed out that there was no evidence of possession or consumption against his client. “While arresting my client, the NCB had conducted a search but there wasn’t any recovery. There is no medical examination to show he had consumed drugs at the relevant time,” Rohatgi pointed out.

“My client is wrongly arrested on charges of conscious possession. My client had come to the cruise along with co-accused Arbaz Merchantt, from whom the NCB allegedly recovered six grams of charas,” the senior counsel said, adding, “but that isn’t conscious possession as I had no knowledge of the drugs found in Arbaz’s shoe.”

Rohatgi further said that the only charge against his client was of consciously conspiring with other accused but for that too, it had to show how I (Aryan) was connected to the other 20 accused. “It has to show meeting of the minds. It isn’t a case wherein a party was going on and there was a sudden raid. They have created a really vague case against my client.”

As far as the WhatsApp chats were concerned, those related to a period from 2018 and beyond, he argued. “These chats aren’t about the cruise party. They have nothing to with the onset of this saga. These chats have nothing to do with the current scenario.”

“NCB claims (based on chats) that I have been familiar with drugs and was in connection with people consuming drugs. All this could be looked into at the stage of trial when the admissibility of these chats would be decided and not now,” Rohatgi argued.

‘I am a victim…’

“My client is a young boy and has no antecedent. The law is very clear on this, you treat such first-timers as victims and not as hardened criminals. The first-timers can be sent to a rehabilitation centre,” Rohatgi said while referring to provisions of the NDPS law. He added, “Rehabilitation provides immunity from prosecution. But my client isn’t saying that he consumed any drugs.”

“Despite no recovery, possession or consumption, my client, a young boy has put in more than 20 days behind the bars,” Rohatgi highlighted.

Online gaming during lockdown linked Aryan to other accused

During the hearing, Justice Sambre sought to know how Aryan was connected with accused number 17 – Aachit Kumar, in the case, from whom 2.6 grams of charas were seized by the NCB.

Rohatgi responded, “Aachit is also a college-going kid, who met my client last year while they were playing online poker. Just like several children, these two too played online games during the lockdown period. They shared a communication regarding winning and playing the game but now the NCB inferred it as though my client and this kid were discussing about procuring and consuming drugs.”

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